Taking flight

Apart from a chance to play, Jovan Swann didn’t know what awaited him when he reported for work.

By the time the job was finished, the experience was above and beyond what he expected.

A defensive tackle on Center Grove High School’s 2015 state championship football team, Swann played in the Jan. 3 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, California — a showcase for the nation’s top 92 seniors.

But Swann didn’t just play.

He started, was a captain and was on the field for the majority of defensive snaps.

“I never knew I was going to be first string or a team captain,” said Swann, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive tackle who earned the distinctions in practices leading up to the game. “I was honored to be announced a team captain for the defense by the coaches, and got to go out there for the coin toss and all that stuff.

“It was an extreme honor.”

Equally important, it was an opportunity to prove to himself that he indeed stacks up against the nation’s top players.

One of the the state’s most highly recruited seniors, Swann has more than 20 NCAA Division I offers and expects to make a decision in the coming days or weeks. He has taken official visits to Stanford, Northwestern and Indiana and expects to choose from one of those schools.

But nothing is concrete ahead of the Feb. 3 national signing day.

“I think it’s going to be possibly based off of those final three schools, but we’ll see what happens between now and when I make my decision,” said Swann, whose older brother, Mario, is a defensive back at IU. “I’m not certain what date I will decide.”

Wherever Swann plays, he’ll arrive with the confidence he can perform at the highest level.

Sponsored by the U.S. Marines, the All-American bowl featured many of the nation’s top recruits. Swann, who played for the West team, was one of only to players selected from Indiana (Carmel linebacker and Wisconsin recruit Noah Burks was the other) and made an immediate impact from the moment he arrived.

Swann made his first impression by making it through daily rounds of pre-practice drill instruction led by a Marine drill sergeant. He then stood out in practices, earning a starting job and defensive captain designation.

In the game, which the East won 28-13, Swann played two-thirds of the defensive series, was credited with two quarterback pressures and spent much of his time in the East’s backfield.

“I thought I did pretty well pressuring the quarterback, a lot, and just getting a feel for what it’s like to play against those big dogs,” said Swann, the Daily Journal’s 2015 Player of the Year. “Coming from Indiana, not every O-line you go up against is 6-5, 300 pounds.

“So getting used to that definitely gave me a feel for what it will be like at the next level.”

It also gave him the assurance he can excel at the next level.

“I’m glad I had that opportunity,” he said. “I feel more confident going into the college ranks, more prepared than I would be if I hadn’t had an opportunity to play in this game.”

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Name: Jovan Swann

High school: Center Grove

Class: Senior

Position: Defensive tackle

Size: 6-foot-4, 270 pounds

2015 stats: Had 64.5 tackles, including 16.5 for loss, and 6.5 sacks; broke up two passes; forced one fumble; recovered one fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

Honors: 2015 Daily Journal Player of the Year; Semper Fidelis All-American; first-team All-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference; played in the Jan. 3, 2016 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson, California.

College plans: Is mulling more than 20 NCAA Division I offers. For the moment, are Indiana, Stanford and Northwestern.

Parents: Mario Sr. and Jo Swann; older brother Mario is a sophomore defensive back at Indiana.